Does the Texas Supreme Court Raise the Common Carrier Issue?

The Texas Supreme Court rejected the right of a utility to acquire property as a "common carrier" because of the lack of control of the common carrier.

As noted in the Michigan Hathcock case, from the earliest times, the notion of a right of a private utility to acquire is premised upon regulation of the utility by the local service commission.

The Texas Supreme Court understood the issue and denied a pipeline company’s right to condemn because it was not appropriately regulated.

Times Record News

However, the Supreme Court disagreed. It said that the permit alone did not conclusively establish Denbury Green’s status as a common carrier and conferpower of eminent domain.

The court found that the RRC does not monitor the operations of the pipeline to determine its "public use" status.

Willet noted that a spokesperson for the Commission stated in 2008 that to her knowledge the RRC had never denied a permit for common carrier status.

"Private property cannot be imperiled with such nonchalance, via an irrefutable presumption created by checking a certain box on a one-page government form. Our Constitution demands far more," Willet wrote.